For regular teeth and oral health, patients visit a dentist. However, for specialized needs related to jaw alignment, teeth position and appearance, an orthodontist is preferred. It was one of the first specialty fields in dentistry. Orthodontists train more than regular dentists by 2 to 4 years. Being a specialty field, dentists recommend their patients to orthodontists when such a need arises. This field is wide in its scope but mostly, it cover the following –
Correction of Teeth Position and Jaw Misalignment – When teeth alignment is skewed in the mouth, it is called ‘malocclusion’ and it is an orthodontist’s field of expertise. In this issue, there might be an overlap between the upper teeth and the lower teeth. This is called an overbite and it might be minor or severe. An under bite, where the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth, is also treated by an orthodontist. In overbites and under bites, the jaw is often misaligned as well.
Other issues that the patient might face include changes in face due to malocclusion, problems with biting or chewing, speech issues such a lisping or slurring, and breathing problems where the patient prefers the mouth instead of the nose for breathing.
Braces Available With Orthodontists – The treatment of malocclusion includes braces for correcting teeth positioning. These braces can be made from metal but invisible braces are also available these days. The teeth are aligned to their proper place over a course of year but sometimes, it can take longer than that. The patient has to remove the braces while eating or drinking foods and liquids that are too hot or cold in case of invisible braces. For metal braces, regular cleaning is recommended because food can get stuck in. Ceramic and colored braces are also used by orthodontists for the same.
Capping, Bonding and Reshaping of Teeth – For the treatment of crooked teeth and improper bites, orthodontist can bond the teeth, cap them and reshape them using state of the art technology. For stabilizing the jaw bone, plates and wires are used. Surgery is also one of the treatment options available to patients who wish to shorten their jaw or reshape it for the treatment of malocclusion. For the treatment of overcrowding teeth, some teeth might be removed.
If the problem is caught early in children or young adults, the treatment is simpler and less expensive. Malocclusion is a disorder that is hereditary in nature.